Gabriele Moroni claims Maestri di Vita at Metanodotto
Italian rock climber Gabriele Moroni has made the first ascent of Maestri di Vita, Life Masters, a difficult and dangerous trad climb at Metanodotto in the Aosta Valley.
Italian trad increasingly cutting-edge. After Jacopo Larcher's trad ascent of Lapoterapia at Osso last week, Gabriele Moroni now checks in with another difficult trad climb, Maestri di Vita at Metanodotto in the Valle d'Aosta. This delicate arete is circa 15m high, was previously attempted by Enrico Baistrocchi and freed by Moroni after four days of effort while belayed by his friend and climbing partner Marzio Nardi. So after 20 years of climbing, after countless World Cups and national comps, with 9a+ sport climbs and 8C boulder problems to his name, Gabriele Moroni now went trad, armed with nuts, friends and a helmet. This transformation is unsurprising, those close to the climber from Norvara know that in recent times he’s sent some highballs - some extremely high boulder problems - that are demanding both physically and psychologically. This latest trad ascent is simply the logical evolution of a talented climber who’s always been exploring for his very limits.
Gabri tell us about Tuesday?
It was a day like many others, I’d been in Val Bavona the day before, I’d climbed Heritage 8b and I’d trashed my tip ... So the idea was to meet up with Marzio Nardi and do a couple of laps on top rope on the "prow" at Metanodotto. This isn’t really a crag, rather a series of bands of rock, 10/15 meters high, with various sport climbs bolted by Massimo Malpezzi more than a decade ago. The "prow" though is too pure, had never been bolted.
Enrico Baistrocchi had given it a look
Yes, about ten years ago Enrico had the vision to not bolt it and work the line to climb it trad. During one of his attempts he fell about half-way up the prow, but just before lobbing off he managed to down climb two moves. So he didn’t hit the deck, but nevertheless he slammed against the rock, spraining his ankle and hurting a rib.
Now you decided to give it a go
I "dusted it off" about two months ago and I started to try it alone, with a static rope. I returned on two other occasions and climbed it several times on top rope, but then for the next month I was busy and couldn’t return, until just the other day.
So tell us about the route
The first part is very easy, about 6c, and about 5m you can place the first piece of gear. You then climb another 3 meters to a small crack where there’s a nut, still wedged in after Enrico’s attempts. I placed two more micro friends, and then the hard climbing begins: a series of crimps and pinches lead leftwards towards the logical prow and the top, around 7B+ boulder ...
Where it’s best not to fall off
From the last two hard moves hard it’s best not to fall because you run a real risk of hitting the ground.
Mentally, as you yourself stated, you entered into "the zone"...
Yes. This year, on all three of my "dangerous" first ascents, I was surprised by how much I enter the zone and think only about the climbing.
You're referring to this trad route, but also to your two difficult highballs?
Exactly. I’m referring to Rigatoni and The Trojan Horse. Rigatoni is located in the Orco Valley, I had graded 8A and this is still the first ascent I’m proudest of, probably the one that has the highest difficulty / danger ratio. The Trojan Horse is located at Outrefer in Val d'Aosta and is lower, about 7 meters high, but the most technical and touch and go, around 8A boulder.
And what about Maestri di Vita?
Maestri di Vita can’t be considered a boulder problem, more an "English" style trad route. I think if it were bolted it would get 8a.
But it’s not. In the video we notice you’re wearing a helmet ...
Yes, because when you’re climbing up the prow the rope gets close to you’re legs and if you fall, there’s a remote possibility that it’ll get tangled an whip you over.
Gabri, a last, difficult question: after 20 years, what do you look for now in your climbing?
I always try to make progress. I feel like I’m improving every year and in particular during this last year I feel much stronger physically. I know extremely well how my body reacts and can now have fun and play with this mental aspect of climbing. And it is a beautiful game.
Gabriele is sponsored by: Wild Climb, Petzl E9, BSide Climbing School e Rock Spot 2 Milano
Maestri di Vita